I'm not sure what you are arguing for or against. 10,000 hours is 10,000 hours. You have to put in your time regardless if it's class, play or solo.
I'm agreeing with the 10,000 hours. What I question is when that 10,000 hours has to occur within a structured class setting. I'm not saying it does, but since we're in a topic about ranking in aikido - which does require so many days between "ranking" - and does not, if rarely accept, time spent outside of the formal structure as training that goes towards ranking - there again, is why I'm playing with the educational model in post-war aikido.
In pre-war aikido, and even early post-war, students with prior martial arts experience was taken into account. And most all of the top students continued learning and progressing outside of what was offered in the aikido dojo. And what they learned was, in many cases, applied within aikido, and ranks were awarded with that in consideration as well.
What about now? We've been through this. There are numbers all over this, and other threads. You go to class, put in your time, pay your dues, take your tests... You stay in perpetual school. How long would you expect people to train like this and have it be constructive for them and even the art of aikido?
I do agree that it, ultimately, is not about rank. But we're in a topic about ranking, and within that scope, it can be important.
You seem to see the hierarchy as a yoke that you are forced to labor under, my experience has been people offering a hand up. I guess we both must realize that our experience isn't universal.
I don't have a problem with the hierarchy at all. The hierarchy has become a yoke on its own shoulders, not mine. I was in it while it was useful, and I've been outside it for years. I was probably inside it for 10,000 hours. I think it's absolutely useful - until students get a handle on the craft. From there, it will depend on their individual situation and journey as to where their training leads them.
And I agree that everyone's experience is not universal by any means. And there are a growing number of people as they reach 20+ years of training aikido who are finding that the structure that may have once served them and the art itself, isn't doing that anymore. Training and teaching methods need to be examined and revised. Grading and ranking need to be reconsidered. How classes are conducted and scheduled - and if that's necessary at all or in part - needs to be tweaked. How people can continue to play, learn, discover, experiment, innovate, and make contributions to aikido - of which there are many more possibilities than there were even 20 years ago.
Aikido's overhaul and evolution is already underway.